Slate Tiles Installation
Multicolored hues add to the earthy look of slate, making it a popular choice for tiling projects. This type of stone is durable, economical and requires minimal maintenance to keep its unique look. It is inevitable that you will encounter some uneven layers on your slate tiles, however it is common and perfectly acceptable with this type of material. Learning how to install your own slate tiles will save you money and give you the personal satisfaction that you completed the job yourself.
1. Position expansion joints or foam backer rods along any walls or door frames in your tiling area. Use a putty knife to push them into position. These will allow for some expansion and contraction of the tile as the weather changes.
2. Cut sections of backerboard that will fit the area you want to tile. Screw the backerboard to the floor with wood screws and a Phillips screwdriver. This will provide a good tiling foundation.
3. Place your tiles on your work surface and put the spacers between the tiles. This is a dry fit so you can see if you need to cut any tiles to fit your tiling area. Measure, mark and cut your tiles to fit. Use a tile cutter or table saw to cut them.
4. Mark your tile rows with snap chalk as a reference. Pick your tiles up carefully and put them to the side.
5. Start against the wall or by the doorway. Spread a thin layer of thinset mortar with the flat side of a trowel. Then spread another thin layer with the notched edge of the trowel. Spread about a 3-foot section of thinset at a time so it doesn’t dry too quickly before you have a chance to set the tile.
6. Place a slate tile on the thinset flush with the wall or doorway. Use a rubber mallet to lightly tap the top of the tile to make sure it gets a good bond with the thinset.
7. Position another tile next to the tile you just installed. Place spacers between the tiles to make sure they are evenly placed. Let the tiles and thinset dry overnight before proceeding.
8. Mix your grout according to the product instructions. Usually you just add water until it is the consistency of frosting. Spread the mixture across the tiles with a grout float. Move in a diagonal direction across the tiles, pushing the grout into the cracks between the tiles as you go.
9. Wait 20 to 30 minutes before you use a sponge and a bucket of water to clean the grout haze from the tiles. Let the grout dry according to the product instructions before you do a final cleaning of your slate tiles.
10. Install a door threshold if needed. Line it up with the doorframe and screw it in to the floor or doorframe.
11. Wait three to seven days to let the grout dry thoroughly before sealing the tiled area. Seal the slate by spreading a layer of sealant with a washrag. Choose a sealant that is designed for stone and slate.